Though this is definitely outside of what I normally write, I’ve decided to publish a novella entitled “The Church.” From Nov. 30 to Dec. 15, I will be publishing the work of fiction in 15 parts. Each day, I will publish a part of the story of Christian and his quest to plant the largest progressive church in the world. I will publish the entire work at the end. Today, I’m publishing PART 5 entitled “THE CHURCH” Enjoy!
Before I knew it, I was out. To be honest, all of it seemed like a dream. I didn’t have any money but somehow I made bail. Who saved me? I sat down on a bench and breathed the fresh air. In my ears, I heard a familiar voice. When I opened my eyes, there was no one there. I closed my eyes and listened, “Take the church to Swinging Dick’s and I’ll be there.” I knew I was losing my mind. “Swinging Dick’s?!? I can’t take the church to a gay bar!” Despite my hesitation, I couldn’t shake the voice. I started walking. When I got to the Washington Bridge, I paused to take in the sunset over the Jackson River. The world was electric. The colors exploded across the horizon. Though I’d heard the voice before, it sounded different this time. “The colors of your church will be this brilliant.” As tears streamed down my face, I raised my hands, closed my eyes and leaned into the sunset. Oops! The next thing I knew, my feet were over my head and I was falling fast. The river raced toward me. I just knew that this was it. Right before I hit the water, I felt a hand grab my ankle. When I woke up in bed, Harvey was asleep at my feet. Next to my alarm clock, I found a note. “Keep your eyes open next time.”
The apartment was a wreck. Each room looked like every cabinet and closet revolted and threw all of their contents out into the middle of the floor. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to clean it up. I had to call Swinging Dick’s. The phone rang three times before Angela picked up. “Can I talk to you about renting the bar on Sunday mornings?” “You need to come over here right now if you want anything out of me!” I knew God wanted us to be at Swinging Dick’s. So, I jumped in my car and raced over there. I passed one police car and prayed that I didn’t get caught speeding again. I didn’t need another incident. The rearview let me know that all was clear. Parking in the second spot, I ran upstairs. The back office was darker than I thought it should be for a business meeting. When Angela walked in, I knew why. For a general manager, Angela was nuts. Today, all she had on was a bra and a thong. “I’m going to need to fuck you in order to close the deal.” While I’d had a few relationships with women in my teenage years, I hadn’t had sexual intimacy with one in a very long time. Regardless of my readiness, I knew that God would see me through. I really needed the church to be at Swinging Richard’s. When Angela dropped her thong, I was surprised that she was hairy as I was. Regardless, I offered her my penis and we did it Pentecostal style…hands in the air, full body shakes and a whole host of tongues. I could tell this was a very serious business deal. The small piece of me that liked women was awoken with a vengeance. The Lord made a way out of no way. When all was finished, Angela leaned in and said, “Not only can you use the bar every Sunday…you can use it for free and I’m going to be a member of your church.” Angela softly kissed me one more time and left. Though I know this was a strange way to secure a church location, I had to do what I had to do. With seating in the bar for over six hundred people, I figured we had a long time to grow into the space. So to keep it familiar, I decided to name our community, “The Church at Swinging Dick’s.”
Over the next few days, I started calling as many people as I could. “We’re meeting next Sunday morning at Swinging Dick’s!!!” While most people were ecstatic, there was one person who didn’t like anything. Bob didn’t like anything abnormal. I think he came to the church to try to control it. I got line after line from Bob. “You’re not safe!” “You’re not really gay!” “Your lifestyle is anathema.” “You’re dangerous.” “I can’t believe there was marijuana at the first service!” “You don’t have the right education to be doing this.” “We can’t meet in a bar!” I wondered whether Bob hated his self or me more. I tried to help him but Bob just wouldn’t quit. On and on, Bob kept sending me crazy messages and slamming me on the Internet. This cat was bat shit crazy. Why does God call us to minister to everyone? Against my better judgment, I let it go. When he went silent for a period, I thought everything was going to be ok. Then, he pushed me to the limit.
The first morning as The Church at Swinging Dick’s was amazing. Through a generous donation, our hipster guitarist turned into a full hipster band. People just kept coming in the door. We had donuts and coffee ready for every mouth and a seat for every ass. By the time everyone got settled, there were over two hundred people in attendance. We rocked out for Jesus. Charlie was on the front row winking at me. Professor Price gave a stirring prayer about justice. Tony and Roy passionately held each other on the third row. The morning was perfect. When I arose to give the sermon, everyone cheered. I was preaching hard on Jesus calling the disciples when Bob popped up and popped off. “You are a controlling, manipulative, psychopathic charlatan. I will not sit here and let you teach any longer.” I’d had enough. I wasn’t the only one. Everyone in the church started shouting him down. I realized I was going to have to have him removed. Larry and David were our security team. When they approached Bob, he bit one of them. I demanded that they not retaliate. Bob was drug out of the building screaming about what he was going to do to me. I reminded him that he would be arrested for trespassing if he ever came back to The Church. Unfortunately, he did.